Theses Doctoral

The Political Economy of Agricultural Development in Nigeria

Nwachukwu, Jude Uwaoma

This dissertation is a case study, which examines the state of agricultural development in Nigeria. The study is intended to be a mirror for a wider undertanding of the state of agriculture Sub-Saharan African (SSA). Pitching its tent in a typical rural Nigerian agrarian community, and applying the political economy ideological framework, the study examines factors that impact and shape agricultural production in the country. It employs the plethora of social research techniques at the disposal of applied anthropologists including structured and unstructured interviews, questionnaires, participant observation, probing for history, and the use of photography and video recording among others. The study worked with a wide focus group including farmers, traders and government officials and analyzes field data through descriptive data analysis; the use of tables and charts; and comparing of results with related studies.
The study found that many factors form a landscape and conspiracy of far-reaching significant negative impact on Nigerian farmers and hence on the agriculture sector of the whole country. The factors negatively impacting agricultural development in Nigeria include land tenure systems rooted in the social organization of farming communities; continually increasing populations against limited and constantly decreasing farmland size; lack of capital especially for the adoption of improved agricultural production technology; incessant conflicts; mass rural-urban migration; low level of education; repressive and exploitative State apparatus; systemic corruption of government officials; excessive dependence of oil economy to the exclusion of agricultural economy; application of institutional and economic development policies that are unfavorable to the agriculture sector; and poor or total lack of infrastructure among others.
Correspondingly, the constellation of unfavorable social condition these factors create produces very far-reaching consequences for farmers and the country at large. These indlude farmers producing at levels of productivity below their potential; food insecurity; constantly rising poverty especially among Nigerian rural farmers; roof-high rate of unemployment; backwardness of other sectors that work hand-in-glove with agricultural production; poor health and reduced length of life directly connected with malnourishment; further occurrence of conflicts among and between communities as a result of poverty and hunger; sharp and continuous fall of farmers’ contribution to national GDP; inability of rural agricultural development to translate into rural and community development; entrenched poverty cycle especially among rural farming families; general backwardness in the socioeconomics of Nigerian rural farmers; and many more.
In response to these telling findings, and in order to mitigate if not overcome the factors and sociopolitical, economic and institutional factors and conditions that militate against agricultural development in Nigeria, the study lays out some recommendations revolving around the installation and maintenance of policies that are pro-poor and pro-agriculture in order especially to boost agricultural productivity and ultimately to help lift farmers out of the assaults of poverty, food insecurity, hunger, and other problems that go with these. The recommendations fronted by the study cover the areas of the problems discovered especially that there needs to be installed institutions to effect changes in land tenure system; improvement in conflict management and resolution; giving back the democracy of agricultural production to farmers by restoring the sector and its former place in the overall economy; disengaging agriculture from its entrenchment in the “project” disposition associated with the development ideology; and above all, allowing agriculture to be a “process” in the hands of the people. In engaging in this on-going dialogue, this study has set to its merit the standard of how an applied anthropologist can contribute to wider study and understanding of social issues in Nigeria and in SSA at large.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Anthropology
Thesis Advisors
Comitas, Lambros
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 31, 2016